For the first time in school history the Temple City Rams are CIF Tennis Champions! The Rams defeated the Walnut Mustangs 10-8 in the CIF Finals on Friday at The Claremont Club.
It was the first time that the Rams had appeared in the CIF Finals and the third time for Walnut, having fallen short in the first two tries. Walnut has many good players and decided to put most of them in doubles teams against the Rams. The strategy worked well for the Mustangs in the first round.
Singles standouts Katherine Wu and Morgan Leong scored strong victories in singles in the first round, 6-2 and 6-0. With the Mustangs’ best players in doubles, Kayla Troung and Jessie Zheng were the Rams best chance at ending the first round at three all. Troung and Zheng were down 4-5, but took the set to a tiebreak, eventually losing and putting the Rams behind, 2-4 overall.
As has been the case for much of the season, the Rams’ singles players elevated their play and swept through the second round. Wu won 6-0, Leong triumphed 6-3, and Allison Tam rebounded from a first round loss for a 6-1 victory.
The Rams doubles teams knew they needed to step up with some wins to support their teammates. Undaunted by their tiebreaker loss in round one, Zheng and Truong stormed out to a 4-1 lead and the Rams were back in it. Some nerves and errant shots allowed the Mustangs to get the set back to 4-3, but Truong and Zheng stopped it there, winning 6-3. Doubles teams of Allison Young and Kaitlyn Tran along with Doris Chen and Michelle Le fought hard, but could not earn a second round victory against the Mustangs’ stacked doubles lineup. Going into round three, the score was tied at 6-6.
In the third round, Leong and Tam won quickly, both earning 6-0 victories, putting the Rams total at 8. As the doubles third round was just getting started, Wu faced the Mustangs’ best singles player. Up 2-1, her opponent took a lengthy injury timeout to rewrap her foot, perhaps trying to throw the Rams star off her game. But Wu was not phased. She earned four straight games for the 6-1 win and the ninth Rams point.
While the doubles players did not yet know it, at that point the Rams had nine points and an insurmountable lead in the games tiebreaker. They were CIF Champions! Chen and Le would add one more doubles win to put the final score at 10-8.
As soon as Chen and Le scored the final win, the team ran out to celebrate and give the doubles teams the exciting news. The Rams were CIF Champions!
This CIF Championship is the first for Temple City High School since the 2004 Girls Water Polo Team. The team will have various festivities in the next week to celebrate the victory.